Seattle driving away Amazon is not our state’s only economic worry: Water ruling, stifled building damaging our economy, hugely

$6.9 billion in lost economic activity annually. 9,300 jobs and $52 million in employee wages, gone. No, I’m not talking about Amazon’s recent announcement. These staggering figures are the estimate of what it will cost us if legislators and the governor continue to do nothing about fixing the Hirst decision. And while Amazon’s news is extremely worrisome, it directly […]

No fix needed? Evidence of negative Hirst consequences piling up

You can see it as a sign of hope or a futile gesture. Key legislators beat the heat in a cool basement conference room in Olympia this week to restart talks on finding a fix to the unfortunate Hirst water decision. At this point any sign of movement is a good thing. Since talks fell […]

Democrats howl over Hirst, but keep these things in mind

There has been plenty of indignation expressed – some real, some with crocodile tears – since legislators adjourned without passing a construction budget or a fix to the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision. Much editorial ink has been spilled since then. The Hirst decision reaches a conclusion about growth management law that legislators never intended. […]

Sewage treatment failure – is local government getting the basics right?

Given the Pacific Northwest’s reputation, if you told people around the country that our region’s largest sewage treatment plant is easily paralyzed by large rainfalls – well, they’d probably find that funny. A “catastrophic event” at King County’s West Point sewage treatment plant within Discovery Park last February resulted in “235 million gallons of untreated […]

“Morally repugnant”? No, it’s simply what rural families need

Too many Washington families are caught in a judicial and bureaucratic limbo thanks to the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision. The case is about so much more than water – it’s about, as Madilynne Clark of the Washington Policy Center wrote, “two of the most fundamental necessities – homes and livelihoods.” The court’s decision has […]

McKenna on KIRO: Odors that violate your property rights

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about a lawsuit by a Marysville man over compost odors. Attorneys for James Moffat alleged that smells from Cedar Grove’s composting facility in Everett interfered with his enjoyment of his property. A Snohomish County jury found in favor of Cedar Grove earlier this month. Dave Ross: “Somebody still […]

Inslee conveys that our rural areas’ concerns aren’t very important

Our state’s rural areas have been left in the lurch by the state Supreme Court’s 2016 Hirst decision that greatly raises costs on wells for homes. Critics of the decision have complained that the court has stepped beyond its proper role and is acting like a policy-setting body. The court’s decision effectively halted homebuilding in […]

New technology has potential to benefit environment and bolster state dairies

Dairy farmers in Washington are besieged. I’m frequently impressed by their stewardship and their adaptability, but they face a well-funded opposition for whom their efforts are never enough. For instance, the state Department of Ecology passed expensive new regulations, forcing family farmers to fight for reasonable changes (and those were blasted by opponents). Outside groups […]

New administration, no Harry Reid: Time to make progress on nuke waste storage

Our state is justifiably proud of the contributions made to victory in World War II, notably Boeing’s massive airplane production and the important work done at Hanford. Unfortunately, we continue to pay a price for the latter. Great minds labored in secrecy at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Hanford, driven by the need to develop […]

Help on the way for rural areas? Fix to water ruling is critical

Last fall, a state Supreme Court ruling in a water case severely curtailed economic development in rural Washington and hurt families who were just following the rules. Known as the Hirst decision, it was a major hit to areas that aren’t a part of the Seattle-area tech boom. The case, which originated in Whatcom County, […]